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Air Pollution May Cause Dementia, Researchers Find

September 4, 2018, 9:21 PM UTC

We all know that breathing polluted air isn’t good for us. Now a new study has linked breathing dirty air to developing Alzheimer’s and dementia.

In a new paper, Arizona State University researchers discovered that incremental exposure to fine particle pollution over the course of a decade leads to an increase in the chance that a person will be diagnosed with dementia.

The study, which looked at 15 years of Medicare records for 6.9 million adults 65 and older MISSING WORDS?? to the EPA’s air quality monitoring network, found that those who breathed pollution were 1.3% more likely to develop dementia than people who were not exposed to dirty air.

The study’s findings are consistent with what other research found and suggests that regulating air pollution could have a number of previously unconsidered financial benefits.

“We conclude that regulation of air pollution has greater benefits than previously known, in part because dementia impairs financial decision making,” the study says. “We estimate that the dementia-related benefits of the EPA’s county nonattainment designations exceeded $150 billion.”